That life that God has given you is the life in which you will find the good works that He has prepared for you to do.
Your life circumstances are not an accident. They are ordained by God. He has set you apart to glorify Him, to serve Him, to proclaim Him right in the midst of what you are doing. This is the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hi, I'm Bill Wright. Today Don wraps up his look at how growth in the life of a Christian will only come through the purposeful study and steadfast reading of God's Holy Scriptures. Friend, if you're ready, let's join Don now as he continues teaching God's people God's Word with a second half of a message called Truth and Scripture here on the Truth Pulpit. God Jesus was not looking to grow in His obedience. Jesus did not need to grow spiritually.
There was no progressive growth needed in Christ. He was perfect. His righteousness was absolute. It was impeccable.
It could never have been any other way. He was the perfect manifestation of the holiness of God. There was no way for Him to get better.
There was no way for Him to grow spiritually. And so when He says in the same context, I sanctify myself, it's obvious that He's not talking about progressive growth in spiritual character. He's using the word in a different sense. What Jesus is saying is, Father, I set myself apart.
I sanctify myself. In other words, I set myself apart. He's saying, I am setting myself apart. I am stepping aside for the unique purpose that you appointed for me before the foundation of the world.
What's He talking about? He's talking about the fact that He is about to go to the cross. He is about to suffer for the sins of His people. He is about to undergo a work of eternal difficulty, a work of eternal punishment, tasting the pains of eternal judgment for all of the sins of all of His people of all time. He says, I set myself apart for the work that you've given me to do. And I go to it with face unflinched. I go to it with a full determination of purpose.
I go to it with a full engagement of my will and a submission of my will to the Father. That's how He was set apart, and that was the work to which He was set apart. He didn't need to grow spiritually, beloved. He was set apart for the work that was about to come because He draws a parallel between Himself and the work of sanctification that He's asking God to do for the disciples. He's asking God to set them apart, set them apart. The disciples, just as Jesus is about to fulfill His purpose when He goes to the cross, the disciples will have their own purpose in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and they will need the hand of God on them decisively if they are to have success in the matter. Beforehand, like Peter, they had served in secular occupations. Peter was a fisherman. Matthew was a tax collector. They had their secular work that they had done beforehand, but now they were being set apart, taken away from that, taken away from that occupation, that vocation, and they were being taken away and set apart for something else, set apart for the work of God, set apart for the Word of God, set apart for the people of God, set apart for prayer.
Jesus even spoke about this early on. He said, follow me and I'll make you fishers of men. You've been fishing for literal fish. Follow me and I'll give you an entirely different purpose.
You'll be fishing men, not sea creatures. And so their purpose would be expressed in the teaching of God's Word and the making of disciples, as we see in Luke 24 and Matthew 28. They're being set apart, beloved, set apart.
Necessary tasks but common tasks will no longer occupy their time. They have been set apart for a higher purpose in the eternal plan of God. And you see the apostles speaking this way in the book of Acts.
We won't take the time to turn there, but in Acts 6, verse 4, early on in the early church, they understood this. There was a dispute. There was dispute about the care of some of the widows in the church. And the apostles said, we cannot give our time to this.
We have something else to do. So appoint men who can take care of that task for you. But as for us as apostles, they said, we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. They had been set apart for that. There were others who could do the necessary tasks of caring for the widows in the church, but the apostles could not do that and also do the work that they had been set apart for. They had been set apart for eternal priorities, to travel about on missionary journeys and to go to places, to preach, to uphold the Word of God, to raise up new leaders.
Titus, Timothy, you see in the life of the apostle Paul, they had been set apart for a spiritual work, by spiritual means, with spiritual goals in mind. And so in light of those eternal priorities that was going to devolve on these weak, sinful, fearful men who would show their fear, I'm repeating myself, but it's so important for you to understand this, these men who within hours would flee from Christ, showing that they had no natural capacity, ability, or strength to do what God required and called them to do. That's why Jesus is praying this way and saying, God, set them apart and have your hand upon them.
They cannot do it. And so, Father, the strength must come from you, and I'm about to depart from them myself, Christ says. And so he says, give them a heart that is devoted entirely to your Word.
Set them apart with a special measure of your protection and strength so that they can do what you've set them apart to do. And then, so this word sanctify is so pregnant with meaning. Jesus, not only knowing the nature of the men, but also knowing the nature of the task, implied in this is, Father, as you set them apart, also order their lives so that they could fulfill what you've set them apart to do. Look at Ephesians chapter two with this spirit of things in our minds.
This gives great conviction and courage to Christians. It gives great conviction and courage to men of God to rise to the occasion and even in the face of hostile opposition, whether it's from close within the family or outside from the world. You know, when you understand that God has set you apart for a purpose to live for him in the life that the Lord has given to you, then it clarifies your priority and it gives strength to your soul as you realize what Christ has done and what Christ has called and the provision that he has made through his own prayers for you. Ephesians chapter two verse ten, thinking about this in the context of these disciples, Ephesians chapter two verse ten, we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
It's another way of saying that God has set his people apart, not only in salvation, but he has also set them apart for a purpose by which they would live for his glory and live unto obedience to him and walk in the good works that God had prepared for them. And understand, beloved, what this scripture is teaching us is that God has given you the life that you have right now. That life that God has given you is the life in which you will find the good works that he has prepared for you to do.
Your life circumstances are not an accident. They are ordained by God. He has set you apart to glorify him, to serve him, to proclaim him right in the midst of what you are doing now. If you're wanting to know the will of God and how you serve God, you know, there's a time and place for saying what am I going to be doing years from now, but there's also a time and place to say what's in front of me today. How do I obey God in the mundane, routine circumstances that he's given to me today? That, beloved, is what he has set you apart for today to do. That's what you've been sanctified to do today. And so Jesus says, Father, sanctify them. Set them apart in their hearts. And Father, continue to orchestrate by your providence and by your perfect will the works that lie ahead for them. Set them apart for the works that you've set apart for them, particularly and specifically to do.
And this has application for us. If God saved you, beloved, he has set you apart. Why do you exist? You know, one of the things about the whole transgender stuff and all of the confusion that's all around us in the collapse of thought in the world around us is there's this awful hopelessness and aimlessness of people not even knowing who they are, not even being able to look at their physical anatomy and determine whether they're a boy or a girl, a man or a woman. Who am I? What is a woman?
What is a man? What am I here for? When you cut the legs off from the most foundational aspects of identity, the only thing that is left is ultimate hopelessness and a complete loss of any sense of why you exist. Well, beloved, none of that should infiltrate into a Christian mind. None of that, why am I here and who am I? Listen, beloved, if you are in Christ, you exist to know him, to know the will of God and to do it. That's why you exist. And the outworking of that, I mean, the general parameters for us all are the same as revealed in Scripture. The specific details of it day by day are determined by the providence that God has ordered for your life.
That's what you've been set apart for. Well, that brings us to our third point, the means of sanctification. What is it that secures the well-being of the disciples?
What is the source of their empowerment as the Spirit of God works in their lives? We'll go back to verse 17 with me. He says, sanctify them in the truth.
Ah, we've come back to our whole theme of the past several weeks. Sanctify them in the truth. And then he explains and expands what he means by the truth. He says, sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth. Twice in that very brief text, the word truth occurs.
Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth. And truth is obviously the emphasis of what Jesus is talking about here. Jesus had given them the truth in his teaching during his earthly ministry.
Look up again at verse 14. He said, I have given them your word. I've given them your word. Now in verse 17, he says, your word is truth. I've given them the truth. I've told them what truth is. I've taught them the way things really are. Now, here in his prayer, his teaching ministry, in his earthly life, his teaching ministry has come to an end, as it does for all teachers of God's word.
Sooner or later, it comes to an end. So you have to live for more than just the act of teaching. Jesus had given them the truth in his teaching, and now the truth is going to carry on, even though the physical presence of Jesus is not. So he asks God to cover them in that truth for their protection, and that he would use the truth in their lives to fulfill the purposes of God. And it is right here, beloved, that we see how crucial scripture is to everything else. It is why I say this kind of thing so many times. It is why we put the word of God front and center in everything that we do.
It's because there is no other source of power. There is no other source of equipping that is given to us other than the word of God that has this kind of spiritual, supernatural power. Beloved, God sets his disciples apart to accomplish a mission on earth. You and I, in our natural wisdom, in our natural education, we have no idea what that is. We have no knowledge of the will of God apart from what he has said in his word. The foolish dreams that people talk about, the foolish motions of what they think in their mind and what they think in their heart and God spoke to me apart from scripture and said this, that's all nonsense and none of it is from God.
None of it is. In terms of being a revelation of his truth, God has given us his word in order to be the means of our sanctification. And so the purpose of the word is this. The purpose of scripture is to renew our minds, to inform us and instruct us and command us, to change the way that we think, to change the way that we feel, to renew our will and to renew our volition so that we think like God does in accordance with his word, so that we love the things that he loves and hates the things that he hates and having our minds and our hearts informed in that way, we go forth and obey what he has done. We do what he instructs us to do.
And so the word is the fountain of all of that. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. In light of everything that's true about salvation, have your mind renewed by the ongoing submission and submersion of your mind into the truth of God as it is found in the 66 books of the Bible. In like manner, the apostle Peter in his first letter said in chapter 2 verse 1, he said, therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, in other words, putting aside the sins of your natural man like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation. Beloved, the word of God, the 66 books of the Bible and no more.
The Apocrypha is not part of the word of God. The word of God is at the very heart of his purpose for your life and the transformation of your life. The word changes our thinking from our worldly environment and into conformity with the mind of Christ. And beloved, it is only by a transformed mind that you can fulfill the purposes of God.
It is in Scripture as you read it in your private devotions. It is only in Scripture as you hear it taught by biblically qualified men from a pulpit that God immerses you in an understanding of Christ in the purposes of redemption. And with that renovated mind, you are now able to discern the false philosophies of the world and to train your heart away from the sinful enticements and temptations of the world. It's because your mind has been transformed that you've been set apart. And you've been set apart so that your mind will be transformed.
Here's the point, beloved. From that position of mental strength with a renewed mind, then you are in a position to understand, assert, and defend the truth of Scripture despite the hostile forces that surround us. The Word of God makes you strong in Christ to be able to do that. And with a renewed mind, with a will that is renewed in accordance with that renewed mind, then you have the resolve necessary to overcome the obstacles and to stand firm in the fight of faith, to stand like a rock in the midst of the waves of adversity, to stand like a man in the face of criticism and rejection, to stand like a man in the midst of the routine, mundane course of life, ennobled, instructed, enabled by the power of the Word of God to fulfill the purpose that you've been set apart for.
Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth. And so we must never forget the treasure that we have in God's precious Word.
To hold it close is the most precious thing that we have. Turn to 2 Timothy as we close. 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 14. Paul speaking to Timothy, and notice this, beloved, this just crossed my mind in the moment.
I love it when that happens too. Christ, as he was about to depart, looked at his disciples and said, Father, sanctify them in the truth. Now Paul, in his last letter of 2 Timothy, looks at his disciple Timothy He's doing the exact same thing. He's sanctifying Timothy, setting Timothy apart to the Word of God so that after Paul is gone, the Word would continue on in Timothy, just as when Christ was gone, it would continue on in his disciples. Same thing, Paul the apostle leaving, the Word continues on. Look at chapter 3 verse 14. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known what?
The sacred writings. You've known the Word of God, Timothy, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
And what's the consequence of that then? In light of what Timothy knows to be true about the Word of God, in light of what the Word is in and of itself, what then is Timothy to do? What are you and I to do? What is Truth Community Church to do in light of these great principles that we've seen from God's Word today? Well, the Word of God is not joking around here. This is not a moment of entertainment or seeker sensitivity appealing to the carnal desires of unsaved men.
No, we're on solemn ground here. Chapter 4 verse 1, in light of these things, and Paul knowing that he himself is about to depart soon enough, says, Timothy, Timothy, I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead and by his appearing and his kingdom, preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season, reproof, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. Timothy, this is not going to be popular when you do it. Do it anyway.
Do it in season and out of season. Do it all the time. This is your charge. Timothy, that unto which you have been sanctified, you've been set apart to this. It does not matter if the world rejects you.
It does not matter if the world does not receive your teaching. Do it because this is the purpose of God unto which you've been sanctified. And by extension, it's what we all do. Transformed and equipped by the Word of God, we do this, beloved, the only growth in service of God comes from those and happens in those who read and study the Word of God. Beloved, that is why you must prioritize scripture in your day-to-day life to have an ongoing feeding of the Word of God in your own life. That is why we emphasize scripture at our church.
That is why, beloved, we call ourselves Truth Community Church. Don Green, bringing our lesson for today to a powerful close from The Truth Pulpit. Friend, if you'd like to have a copy of today's message, or maybe you'd like to share it with a friend, simply go to thetruthpulpit.com. Once there, you'll find all of Don's teaching along with other great, helpful resources.
That's thetruthpulpit.com. Now, before we go, here's Don with a final word. Well, my friend, there is so much about life on this earth to make us anxious, fearful, and discouraged.
I just want to say this to you. Whether you go through this life with joy is directly tied to what you believe about the nature of God and the salvation that we find through faith in Jesus Christ alone. My friend, do you know the God who is all powerful, all wise, and all loving? Is that God, the one who hears your prayers and even numbers the hairs on your head? You see, you can only know God truly by reading and studying his word.
That's how he makes himself known. Well, I hope that The Truth Pulpit is a source of strength to you as you live for Christ. And if it is, would you do us a favor? Would you return the blessing by dropping us a note at thetruthpulpit.com?
Look for the Contact Us link in the upper right-hand corner. Your brief greeting can assure that we keep the broadcast on this outlet as we continue to minister to you. Thank you so much, and God bless you. Thanks, Don. And friend, thanks for spending some of your valuable time with us today. I'm Bill Wright, hoping you can join us next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word here on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-31 22:35:13 / 2022-12-31 22:43:52 / 9